Monday, November 28, 2011

Ritz-Carlton, Charlotte's "NY Eve Party in the Sky" Announced

The Charlotte Area's first "New Year's Eve Party in the Sky" has been
announced by The Ritz-Carlton, Charlotte, with the exclusive night-
club experience to be presented on the shimmering crystal deck of the
hotel's 18th-floor Aqua Lounge. Ticket sales are currently underway
for the December 31 experience, with interest strong as guests
anticipate ringing in the New Year at a sky-high location offering
floor-to-ceiling windows and stellar views of Center City.

The stylish four‐hour party will include a four-hour open bar serving
premium drinks, open seating, club tunes played by deejay Tomato Slice
and complimentary valet parking. The new crystal dance deck of The
Aqua Lounge will allow guests to dance over the water and in the sky,
and to raise a glass at midnight with an included Champagne toast and
party favors saluting 2012.

Admission to the 2011 New Year's Eve Party in the Sky is priced at
$150 per adult, with event hours set for 9 p.m. to 1 a.m. on New
Year's Eve. Non-refundable advance tickets may be purchased now at

Chimney Rock's Outcroppings Trail to Undergo Improvements Dec. 5

To maintain Chimney Rock as one of the Southeast's premier outdoor
destinations, the developing Chimney Rock State Park will undergo
construction on December 5, 2011, to improve access by upgrading one
of its upper trails called the Outcroppings. The Park will remain open
to visitors during the winter capital improvements and its lower
trails and many points of interest will be open to the public. A new
elevator, renovated Sky Lounge Gift Shop & Deli and the Chimney are
scheduled to reopen upon completion of improvement projects in spring
2012.Starting December 5, winter admission will be $9 for adults and
$4 for youth (ages 6-15) and free for children under six. Winter hours
will be Thursday to Monday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. with the Ticket Plaza
closing at 4:30 p.m.

"There's never a convenient time to make improvements, but we're doing
everything we can to limit the impact on our guests. These significant
upgrades help preserve access to the Park's 535-million-year-old
natural wonder while improving the guest experience for generations to
come,"said Mary Jaeger-Gale, General Manager, Chimney Rock at Chimney
Rock State Park.

Outcroppings Trail Replacement. During the winter, a section of the
Outcroppings trail that provides access to the Chimney will be
replaced from the top parking lot level up to the bottom of the new
stairs completed last April. The new, steel-framed wooden stairways
will allow for easier access to the Chimney and points of interest
above, such as the Opera Box, Devil's Head and Exclamation Point. The
improved Outcroppings trail will accommodate more traffic, offer a
better guest experience and help maintain access for future
generations. With the park's elevator currently undergoing a complete
modernization, the Chimney and upper Chimney Rock Mountain will not be
open to the public during the winter.

"It's an exciting time in the history of Chimney Rock State Park.
Being able to not only preserve this amazing natural resource, but
also to enhance the experiences our citizens and visitors have at the
park for decades to come is very important. Since the attraction's
inclusion into the N.C. State Park system in 2007, the Division of
Parks and Recreation has been dedicated to caring for this incredible
destination through phased improvements each year," said Adrienne
Wallace, Park Superintendent, Chimney Rock State Park.

Attractions Remaining Open. Areas of the park that will remain open
to the public throughout improvements include the 404-foot-tall
Hickory Nut Fallsand its trail, Cliff Dwellers Gift Shop and the
Meadows area, including the Great Woodland Adventure and Four Seasons
trails, Grady's Animal Discovery Den, Classroom on the Meadows and the
covered picnic pavilion. Chimney Rock continues to offer events to
enhance guest experience during improvements, such as Santa on the
Chimney on December 3 and 10 and workshops and free guided hikes in
early 2012.

Elevator Modernization. The 26-story elevator, which provides
convenient access to the top of Chimney Rock, is currently undergoing
a complete modernization designed to increase its reliability, speed
and capacity. The original elevator opened in 1948—more than six
decades ago—and although it was renovated in the mid-80s, it is due
for a complete modernization. Taken out of service in April 2011,
nearly every part including the original elevator car is being
upgraded or replaced. Construction on the 26-story metal egress stairs
is nearly complete, and work on replacing the elevator itself will be
underway soon. The Sky Lounge Gift Shop & Deli has been renovated and
its restrooms updated to meet the American Disabilities Act (ADA)
regulations. The restrooms on the Meadows and in the top parking lot
will also be renovated during the winter. Portable toilets will be
provided while the Park restrooms are under construction from early
December to the end of March. The new elevator, along with the
Outcroppings trail, is scheduled to reopen in spring 2012.

"It's time to make these improvements so that our kids, grandkids and
great-great grandkids can enjoy making memories at Chimney Rock for
another century," said Jaeger-Gale. "It's like making improvements to
your home. At some point, the roof must be replaced. While it may not
be opportune, it has to be done."

New Hours & Admission. Rates will be reduced during improvements,
effective December 5. Winter admission is $9 for adults and $4 for
youth ages six through 15. Children under six are admitted free. When
the Hickory Nut Falls trail is closed due to inclement weather, adult
admission is $5 and kids under 16 are admitted free. Winter hours are
Thursday to Monday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. with the Ticket Plaza closing at
4:30 p.m. Both the Park and Old Rock Café, located in Chimney Rock
Village near the park's entrance, will be closed Tuesdays and
Wednesdays. The park will be closed Christmas day but will be open
every day from December 26 to January 2, 2012, including New Year's
Day. In case of inclement weather, check the Park's website for
opening status.

Great Deals on Annual Passes. Adult Annual Passes, a great stocking
stuffer for family and friends, are available for $20 during a holiday
special November 25 to December 24. Guests who visit the park during
discounted winter admission rates can also save money by upgrading
their admission tickets to Annual Passes for only $11 for adults and
$4 for youth (ages 6-15) within 30 days of purchasing admission. Buy
your upgrade online, call 800-277-9611 or show your receipt at the
Ticket Plaza on your next visit within 30 days.

Old Rock Café Improvements. The Old Rock Café, located in Chimney
Rock Village and operated by the Park, will be closed for renovations
for about three weeks in January. The project includes redesigning the
layout, replacing equipment and paneling in the kitchen and replacing
the carpet. Starting Dec. 5, the restaurant's winter hours will be
Thursday-Monday, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. It will be closed Tuesdays and
Wednesdays along with the Park. However, the Old Rock will be open
daily 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. from December 26 to January 2, 2012 for the
holidays, including New Years' Day.

Follow Our Progress. Future updates, progress reports and photos for
winter capital improvements can be found on the Park's website and on Facebook at ChimneyRockParkNC.

Definitions: The Outcroppings trail is the trail from the top parking
lot to the Chimney area. The Skyline trail leads from the Chimney
level to the Opera Box, Devil's Head and Exclamation Point. The Sky
Lounge is the Gift Shop and Deli at the top of the elevator. Cliff
Dwellers Gifts is located at the top parking lot.

About Chimney Rock at Chimney Rock State Park
Chimney Rock at Chimney Rock State Park is a developing international
outdoor destination located 25 miles southeast of Asheville on Highway
64/74A in Chimney Rock, N.C. It is recognized as one of the
Southeast's most iconic sites and popular travel destinations. The
Park's 535-million-year-old monolith called Chimney Rock offers guests
75-mile panoramic views of Hickory Nut Gorge and Lake Lure. Hickory
Nut Gorge, one of the state's most significant centers of
biodiversity, is home to 36 rare plant species and 14 rare animal
species, and the second highest waterfall of its kind in the eastern
United States. A destination for travel groups, weddings and special
events, the Park also hosts innovative educational programs for
schools, homeschoolers, scouts and summer camps. Visit Chimney Rock's
website at More information on current Capital
Improvement projects or by calling

Jacob's Ladder Launches Holiday Appeal for USB Flash Drives

Jacob's Ladder Job Center, Inc. (Jacob's Ladder) is holding a 'USB-
Drive' campaign for the students in their month-long job-readiness

From Nov. 28-Dec. 19, Jacob's Ladder is collecting donated new and
unused USB flash drives (minimum of 256MB or greater) at both of its
locations Mondays through Fridays between 9:00AM-4:00PM: The Plaza
(2304 The Plaza, Charlotte, N.C. 28205) and Jacob's Ladder West
(located at the Center for Employment Services at 2201 Caronia Street,
Charlotte, N.C. 28208). For questions, contact Jacob's Ladder at

"Unfortunately, we are no longer able to provide flash drives to our
students, so we would appreciate any donations we receive from the
public. Flash drives are an essential tool for our clients who often
rely on our computer labs for computer access to create and update
their resume, complete applications and apply for jobs," said Margo
Scurry, the technology instructor at Jacob's Ladder. "They enable our
clients to keep documents that are accessible and available on
standard technology that supports their learning."

About Jacob's Ladder
Jacob's Ladder Job Center, Inc. is a registered 501(c)3 non-profit,
which helps unemployed and underemployed people find and keep living
wage jobs. A member of the N.C. Center for Nonprofits, Jacob's Ladder
was founded in 1998 as a compassionate response to the Welfare-to-Work
movement and to chronic unemployment in Charlotte's urban communities.
For more information, visit or call

Follow Jacob's Ladder on Facebook at
, Twitter @JacobsLadderCLT and on YouTube

Poll Finds Half of Americans Think Doctors Write Too Many Prescriptions

A slight majority of Americans think doctors write too many
prescriptions for drugs to give to their patients.

In a Poll Position national telephone survey, 52% said there are too
many prescriptions written for drugs by doctors, 25% did not think so
and 23% had no opinion.

Fifty-nine percent of African-Americans thought doctors give too many
prescription drugs to their patients, 24% did not think so and 18% had
no opinion.

Among whites, 53% thought too many prescription drugs are given to
patients, 26% did not think so and 21% had no opinion.

Men thought too man prescription drugs were given out by 53% versus
20% who did not think so and 26% had no opinion.

Women countered with 51% saying too many prescriptions are written for
drugs, 29% did not think so and 20% did not have an opinion.

See a breakdown of survey participants by age, race, gender, and
political affiliation in crosstabs for this poll at

Poll Position's scientific telephone survey of 1,168 registered voters
nationwide was conducted November 22, 2011 and has a margin of error
of ±3%. Poll results are weighted to be a representative sampling of
all American adults.

What do you think? Are too many prescriptions drugs given by doctors
to patients in the U.S.? Vote in our online companion poll and comment

The online companion poll in which you can vote provides unscientific
results, meaning it's a tally of participating Poll Position users,
not a nationally representative sampling.

Poll Position is committed to transparency and upholding the highest
professional standards in its polling, explaining why we provide you
with the crosstabs of our scientific polls. Crosstabs provide a
breakdown of survey participants by age, race, gender, and political

Learn more about Poll Position's polling methodology at

About Poll Position
Poll Position is a unique non-partisan news, polling, and social media
company founded and lead by two award-winning CNN news and polling
veterans. The company's goals are to engage, enlighten, and entertain
millions of people with exclusive news-making, buzz-generating public
opinion polls and giving people everywhere an opportunity to vote and
comment on hot topics, while learning the views of others.

For more news updates and research findings, follow Poll Position on
Twitter @PollPosition and become a Facebook fan at
. Become a registered user at

To learn more about Poll Position, go to

Low Income Energy Assistance Program (LIEAP) Starts Dec. 1 in Charlotte Area

The Mecklenburg County Department of Social Services (DSS) Low Income
Energy Assistance Program (LIEAP) will begin taking applications for
help with energy bills starting on Thursday, Dec. 1, 2011. This year
DSS was awarded $1,056,285 in LIEAP funds. Last fiscal year, DSS
awarded $5,556,743 in LIEAP funds to over 25,000 households.

LIEAP has been helping low-income residents with their heating costs
in Mecklenburg County for over twenty years in some form, but this
year the North Carolina General Assembly has made changes in who is
eligible as well as the process by which to apply. Those changes are
detailed below:

DSS will be taking LIEAP applications from residents who meet the
following criteria starting on Dec. 1:
· All members of the household must be 60 years of age or older

· Applicants must be disabled persons (receives SSI, SSA or VA
disability) who are receiving services through the Division of Aging
and Adult Services (DAAS)

· Applicants must meet income requirements of no more than 130%
of the poverty level

· Payments will be made directly to utility companies during
the month of the application, payments will not be made to the applicant

· Everyone who is eligible must apply, no one will be
'automatically' approved

· Applications can be made at either DSS location:

o Kuralt Center, 301 Billingsley Road, Charlotte, or

o Chapin Hall, 3205 Freedom Drive, Charlotte

LIEAP applications will be taken through Jan. 31, 2012 or until funds
are exhausted. If funds remain past this date, other eligible
households, such as households with children under 5 years of age at
up to 130% of poverty level receiving public assistance, will be
allowed to apply through Mar. 31, 2011 or until funds are spent.

"Seductive Home" Author Moll Anderson to Visit Neiman Marcus in Charlotte Dec. 3

Moll Anderson, a former Emmy Award-winning entertainment reporter and
lifestyle expert who has brought her design expertise to "Good Morning
America," "The Today Show," Style, HGTV and E!, will make a personal
appearance at Neiman Marcus in Charlotte from 2PM-4PM on Saturday,
December 3, to sign copies of her new interior design guidebook, "The
Seductive Home."

The perfect holiday gift for do-it-yourself design mavens or anyone
just looking to spruce up a room or two, the oversized, hardcover book
will be available at select retailers and online via Amazon and Barnes
& Noble.

The Seductive Home, Anderson's second book following her 2006 guide
Change Your Home, Change Your Life, teaches readers how to discover
their own sense of style and creativity in bringing elegance,
sophistication and even an indulgent sense of decadence to a home.
Elements like color, texture, scale, lighting, scent and dramatic
focal points unite to evoke emotion and create a holistic sensory
experience. Throughout the 224-page, full-color book, Anderson also
offers before-and-after images of transformed rooms, cuisine and
cocktail recipes to complement diverse design tastes, and a look
inside her private homes: from the luxurious textures of Old World
elegance, to the warm earth tones of the Southwest, to the sleek,
shiny surfaces of a modern city.

For more information on Moll Anderson and The Seductive Home, please
visit her personal website, On Facebook:
. On Twitter: @mollanderson1.

Frenzel Properties Sponsors 4th Annual Cookies for Kids' Cancer Bake Sale

Frenzel Properties, a boutique residential real estate firm serving
the greater Charlotte area, is proud to be involved again this year in
the 4th Annual Cookies for Kids' Cancer Bake Sale in Charlotte on
December 3rd and 4th. The Bake Sale will be held at Blackhawk
Hardware in the Park Road Shopping Center in Charlotte from 10:00 a.m.
– 4:00 p.m. on Saturday and 1:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m. on Sunday.

This is Frenzel Properties second year as a sponsor of this annual
event, which raises money to fund research to fight pediatric cancer
and increase survival rates. The real estate firm donates money and
volunteers their time and baking skills to support the bake sale

"Cancer claims the lives of more children annually than any other
disease combined," said Kelly Frenzel, owner and broker for Frenzel
Properties. "The Charlotte area community is so supportive of this
event, which raised a national record of over $35,000 last year, and
is determined to raise even more research funds this year. As a
family-focused firm, we are committed to giving back to the community
that has given us so much. Cookies for Kids' Cancer is an incredibly
inspiring nonprofit and we look forward to being a part of the Bake
Sale again this year."

Cookies for Kids' Cancer was founded by two parents inspired by their
2 ½ year old son's battle with cancer. They learned that 25 percent
of kids diagnosed with cancer do not survive due to a shortage of
research funding for pediatric cancers. The Cookies for Kids' Cancer
Bake Sale was established in Charlotte by agroup of moms who wanted to
raise awareness and funding for pediatric cancer research in honor of
Grier Christenbury, a young boy who, at the age of two, was diagnosed
with a rare form of childhood cancer called Neuroblastoma.

About Cookies for Kids' Cancer
Cookies for Kids' Cancer is committed to raising funds to support
research for new and improved therapies for pediatric cancer. Through
the concept of local bake sales, Cookies for Kids' Cancer provides the
inspiration and support for individuals, communities, and businesses
to help fight pediatric cancer. For more information, please visit

About Frenzel Properties
Frenzel Properties is a full-service residential real estate brokerage
firm that strives to provide exceptional representation for buyers and
sellers. More than just access to the local MLS, the firm adds value
by managing the complete buying or selling process, assisting in due
diligence, ensuring the right lifestyle fit, and a thorough analysis
of each property's value. Our primary goal is to give our clients
sound advice, so they can make smart decisions. Frenzel Properties is
located in Dilworth at 700 East Boulevard, Suite 2, Charlotte, NC
28203. For more information about Frenzel Properties or to view
property listings, please or call (704)

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Huge Savings and a Spin Around Charlotte Motor Speedway Highlight Souvenir and Race Ticket Blow-Out

One of the biggest day-after-Thanksgiving traditions in the Charlotte
area, the Souvenir and Race Ticket Blow-Out, returns for the 19th
consecutive year on Nov. 25, at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

Shoppers who purchase at least $50 worth of merchandise or race
tickets, or donate $25 to Speedway Children's Charities during the
annual blow-out sale, will get to drive their personal vehicle for
three laps around the 1.5-mile superspeedway. Race fans can experience
the 24-degree banking and drive in the tire tracks of their favorite
NASCAR stars.

The Black Friday sale will give fans the chance to shop at more than
15 NASCAR souvenir rigs offering driver merchandise at incredibly low
prices just in time for holiday gift giving. Many items will start at
just $1 and a large variety of hats and t-shirts will be priced
starting at $3.

The souvenir trailers will feature merchandise from top NASCAR drivers
including Kyle Busch, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Jeff Gordon, Kevin Harvick,
Jimmie Johnson, Joey Logano, Ryan Newman and Danica Patrick, among

In addition to the souvenir trailers, the Charlotte Motor Speedway
ticket office will be open throughout the event, offering shoppers the
perfect gift for that race fan on their holiday shopping list.
Shoppers who purchase $99 in race tickets will receive a free $25 gift
card good for 2012 Charlotte Motor Speedway race tickets, camping
spots or pit passes.

Event hours are 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 25. For more
information on the Souvenir and Race Ticket Blow-Out contact the
Charlotte Motor Speedway gift shop at (704) 455-3202 or visit online

After the Souvenir and Race Ticket Blow-Out, shoppers are invited to
stay and enjoy Carolina Christmas, the region's largest holiday light
show, featuring more than 4.5 miles of LED light displays made up of
more than 3 million lights. The cost of admission is just $20 a car
load for up to eight passengers.

For daily updates, connect with Charlotte Motor Speedway on Twitter at
on Facebook at

The Ivey Offers Free Caregiving Help During The Holidays

If you care for a senior with Alzheimer's, Parkinson's or other
ailment, and you're wondering how you can get your shopping and
errands done during the holiday season, take advantage of a free
service offered by The Ivey® .

The non-profit adult day care center at 6030 Park South Drive in
SouthPark is offering a free four-hour visit for any senior in the
area with Alzheimer's, Parkinson's and other chronic conditions. Your
family member will be well cared for and entertained while you take
care of shopping and personal errands. The Ivey offers a mountain
lodge ambiance, stimulating activities, home-cooked meals and onsite
medical supervision.

"This is our holiday gift for the community," says The Ivey founder
Lynn Ivey, herself a former caregiver for her mother, who died of
Alzheimer's disease. "It's difficult for most of us to get our
shopping done. When you're a caregiver, you need all the help you can
find. We're here to make the holidays brighter for caregivers."

To arrange your visit, call The Ivey at 704/909-2070. Visits are
limited to one per family from November 28 through December 29. The
Ivey is open weekdays from 7:30 am to 5:30 pm, but will be closed on
December 23 and December 26. To learn more and see photos, visit

The Ivey
The Ivey® is a not-for-profit adult day care center that provides
daytime services for people living with Alzheimer's and other types of
memory loss, social isolation, or physical frailty due to stroke,
Parkinson's, and similar illnesses. The Ivey offers socialization,
engaging activities, meals from a Johnson & Wales-trained chef, and
healthcare monitoring from an on-site registered nurse. The Ivey's
services allow caregivers to hold jobs, continue friendships, and
refresh from the responsibilities of providing constant care.

Friday, November 11, 2011

County Sponsors Free Paper Shredding Nov. 12

In the old days, throwing out a few boxes of long-canceled checks and
other personal documents was quite simple: You dumped it all in the
trash, sent it to the curb, and forgot about it. But that was before
identity theft became commonplace.

In the new era where protecting personal information and the
environment is equally important, there is a much better solution to
getting rid of personal information, and during Mecklenburg County
Solid Waste's Paper Shredding Event this weekend, you can do it safely
and for free.

On Sat., Nov. 12, all four Mecklenburg County Full Service Recycling
Centers will be shredding household documents for no charge from 8
a.m. until noon to help celebrate America Recycles Day. Since 1997,
communities across the country have come together every Nov. 15 to
celebrate America Recycles Day, the only nationally recognized day
dedicated to the promotion of recycling in the United States.

Document destruction specialists Shred-it, Caraustar and Pro-Shred
will be on hand Saturday -- along with the Charlotte-Mecklenburg and
Huntersville police departments -- to ensure that all documents are
disposed of safely and securely. The first 25 residents to bring items
to each recycling center will receive recycling gift bags.
Not sure what to bring? Visit or call E. Nadine
Ford at 704.201.2201 for detailed information about what you can bring
for disposal.

Mecklenburg County's Full Service Recycling Center locations and
shredding vendors for the day:

North Mecklenburg Recycling Center and Yard Waste (Shred-it)
12300 N. Statesville Rd.

West Meck. Recycling Center (Shred-it)
8440 Byrum Dr.
Hickory Grove Recycling Center and Yard Waste (ProShred)

8007 Pence Rd.

Foxhole Recycling Center and Yard Waste (Caraustar)

17131 Lancaster Hwy.

Charlotte Area Celebrates America Recycles Day Uptown Nov. 15

On Tuesday, November 15 from 10am to 2pm, the City of Charlotte and
Mecklenburg County are partnering with Charlotte Center City Partners
to celebrate America Recycles Day in Uptown. Charlotte will be one of
many communities across the country participating in recycling
education events held on the only nationally recognized day dedicated
to promoting and celebrating recycling in the United States.

Event participants include City and County Solid Waste Services
Departments, the Charlotte Area Transit System (CATS), Keep
Mecklenburg Beautiful, Keep Charlotte Beautiful, Goodwill Industries,
ProShred, and the North Carolina Department of Justice. Participants
will distribute educational materials highlighting the numerous waste
reduction efforts of different organizations in the Uptown area as
well as giveaways for attendees.

Citizens are encouraged to bring any personal electronic devices or
documents to the event for safe disposal. Goodwill Industries will be
collecting computer components and other electronics and ProShred will
be providing free document shredding. Please visit
for a complete list of applicable electronics. All donations are
free of charge.

For more information about America Recycles Day, visit For more information about recycling in
Mecklenburg County and Charlotte visit or

Charlotte Area Shoppers Rally to Support Small Retailers this Holiday Season

With the holiday season just weeks away, shoppers are finding
incentives to support small retailers on Small Business Saturday.
Small Business Saturday, which falls between Black Friday and Cyber
Monday, is fast becoming the ceremonial kick-off to the holiday season
for small, independently-owned businesses.

Consumers will be able to support small businesses in their
communities while cashing in on some amazing deals. Small businesses
around the country are offering special promotions, hosting events and
finding ways to reward their customers. American Express is offering a
$25 statement credit to a limited number of Cardmembers who pre-
register their eligible American Express Card on
, and then spend at least $25 at a small business on Small Business
Saturday with their registered Card. And FedEx distributed 40,000 $25
Shop-Small-branded gift cards through, to drive
more business to small retailers on Small Business Saturday. The gift
cards were snapped up in less than one hour.

To help registered Cardmembers take full advantage of the $25
statement credit, the Small Business Saturday Facebook page includes a
map of small businesses where the card offer is accepted. The
interactive map allows consumers to find local businesses and "like"
their favorites directly through the "Get Involved" tab. Consumers
are encouraged to search for new small businesses in their
neighborhoods, give shout-outs to their favorite small businesses, and
most importantly, "shop small" on Small Business Saturday and
throughout the holidays.

"Last year, independent merchants who accept American Express saw an
average boost in sales of 28% on Small Business Saturday[i]," said
Mary Ann Fitzmaurice Reilly, senior vice president at American Express
OPEN. "Shoppers sent a clear message that shopping local is an
important part of the holiday season and small businesses are
rewarding that loyalty with what their customers care about most–
superior service, unique selection and some great deals."

This year, Women Impacting Public Policy (WIPP), a nonpartisan
organization which educates and advocates on behalf of women-owned
businesses, will organize Small Business Saturday events in 15 U.S.
cities on November 26 to drive even more customers into small
businesses. Americans will gather in neighborhoods around the country
to show their support for the day and the local small businesses they
patronize all year long. Consumers and small businesses in these 15
cities are encouraged to join the festivities. From holiday
celebrations to block parties, the events will take place in:

· Boston (Roslindale)

· Charlotte (South End)

· Chicago (Hyde Park)

· Cincinnati (Over the Rhine)

· Fort Worth (Sundance Square)

· Detroit (Midtown, New Center, Downtown/Business District,
Eastern Market)

· Los Angeles (Culver City)

· Miami (Coral Gables)

· New York (TriBeCa)

· Philadelphia (Manayunk)

· Scottsdale (The Plaza on South Bridge and Old Farmer's Market)

· San Diego (North Park)

· San Francisco (North Beach)

· Seattle (Edmonds)

· Washington, DC (Adams Morgan)

Shoppers in New York, Chicago and San Francisco can also take
advantage of shopping guides found on
under the "City Guides" tab on the left side of the page. The deals
featured in the guides–sourced by trend-spotting PAPER Magazine–are
for all shoppers, not just those with American Express cards.

More than 200 advocacy organizations are all part of the Small
Business Saturday Coalition, whose mission is to inspire business
owners and communities across the country to embrace Small Business
Saturday and get the word out about the importance of shopping at
small, independently owned businesses all year long.

About Small Business Saturday
November 26th marks the second annual Small Business Saturday, a day
to support the local businesses that create jobs, boost the economy
and preserve neighborhoods around the country. Small Business Saturday
(SBS) was created in 2010 in response to small business owners' most
pressing need: creating more demand for their products and services. A
total of 1.5 million Facebook users, 130 public and private
organizations, and 41 elected officials declared their support for SBS
last year. More than 100,000 small businesses downloaded SBS marketing
materials, 10,000 businesses signed up for free Facebook advertising
that ran on SBS, and around 200,000 consumers registered their
American Express cards to receive $25 statement credits when they
shopped at a small business on SBS. American Express is the founding
sponsor of Small Business Saturday.

About American Express OPEN®

American Express OPEN is the leading payment card issuer for small
businesses in the United States and supports business owners with
products and services to help them run and grow their businesses. This
includes business charge and credit cards that deliver purchasing
power, flexibility, rewards, savings on business services from an
expanded lineup of partners and online tools and services designed to
help improve profitability. Learn more at and connect
with us at and

American Express is a global services company, providing customers
with access to products, insights and experiences that enrich lives
and build business success. Learn more at
and connect with us on,

Rubbish Works Donates Nearly 200 Mattresses to Charity

Crisis Assistance Ministry and The Bin announced today that they
received a donation of 192 mattresses which were removed from a 116
room hotel as part of a recently completed renovation. Management at
the hotel contacted Rubbish Works, a local hauling and recycling
company, to handle the disposal. Being a community partner of the two
charities, Rubbish Works suggested and coordinated the donation of the
mattresses to the two charities, whose mission is to provide
assistance to people in financial crisis.

"As Charlotte prepares for the DNC next summer we are hoping local
businesses use it as an opportunity to donate items that help families
maintain their dignity while allowing people to spend their money on
other basic essentials," said Betsy McDonald, Manager of the Furniture
Bank for Crisis Assistance Ministry. "We are also grateful to
community partners like Rubbish Works who bring these opportunities to
our attention."

Mecklenburg County has seen a 36% jump in the number of homeless
families in the past year. Charities like Crisis Assistance in
Charlotte and The Bin in Huntersville operate "stores" that stock
donations of furniture and mattresses. All items in the stores are
free, but in order to shop at the store a client needs a referral from
a social worker or a congregation. This helps by allowing the families
to use their money on bills, rather than furniture.

About Crisis Assistance Ministry

Crisis Assistance Ministry is a non-profit agency serving Mecklenburg
County families in need by resolving immediate crises and providing
counseling, services and support that give them the tools they need to
move toward financial stability. Connect online at

About The Bin

The Bin, located in Huntersville, is a place of hope for families in
need. This 501c3 is 100% volunteer operated organization. It was
established to provide home goods and appliances for families in North
Mecklenburg and South Iredell Counties that need a helping hand. Visit
The Bin online at or

About Rubbish Works

Rubbish Works has solutions for every need - Labor, Hauling, Light
Demolition, Recycling and Dumpsters. We service any size project,
residential or commercial, and our crews do all the work wherever your
rubbish is. Book a free, no obligation quote at

Joan Baez Performs Nov. 19 at Wingate University

Billboard says it best: "Decades pass, yet Joan Baez' voice never gets
old." Joan Baez, the iconic voice of a generation, comes to The
Batte Fine Arts Center's Austin Auditorium on the Wingate University
campus for one night only on Friday, Nov. 19 at 7:30 p.m.
For over half a century, Baez has been a potent force in American
music, combining art and activism both onstage and off. From her
classic self-titled debut LP in 1960 to the landmark Diamonds and Rust
(1975) to her acclaimed Dark Chords on a Big Guitar (2003), Baez has
remained a folk icon and superstar of the first order, and the social
conscience for a generation. On her latest release, the Grammy
nominated Day After Tomorrow, she returns to songs that evoke the
spirit and message of her defining early work.

Even as an 18-year old, introduced onstage at the first Newport Folk
Festival in 1959, her repertoire reflected a different sensibility
from her peers. In the traditional songs she mastered, there was an
acknowledgment of the human condition. She remains a musical force of
nature whose influence is incalculable - marching on the front line of
the civil rights movement with Martin Luther King Jr., inspiring
Vaclav Havel in his fight for a Czech Republic, singing on the first
Amnesty International tour and standing alongside Nelson Mandela when
the world celebrated his 90th birthday in London's Hyde Park. She
brought the Free Speech Movement into the spotlight, took to the
fields with Cesar Chavez, organized resistance to the war in Southeast
Asia, then forty years later saluted the Dixie Chicks for their
courage to protest war.

Her earliest recordings fed a host of traditional ballads into the
rock vernacular, before she unselfconsciously introduced Bob Dylan to
the world in 1963. She focused awareness on songwriters ranging from
Woody Guthrie, Dylan, Phil Ochs, Richard Farina, and Tim Hardin, to
Kris Kristofferson and Mickey Newbury, to Dar Williams, Richard
Shindell, Steve Earle and many more.
Tickets are $42 & $52 and on sale via the Batte Center box office,, and the CarolinaTix phone room and website. For a
complete schedule of events, ticket prices, as well as membership
information call 704-233-8300.

Opened in 1999, the George A. Batte, Jr. Fine Arts Center presents
events in the McGee Theatre, Plyler-Griffin Recital Hall and Austin
Auditorium. Located just a short, 5 minute drive from Monroe, The
Batte is just two blocks off of Highway 74 and 30 miles east of
Charlotte. Free parking is plentiful and all three performance spaces
offer full wheelchair accessibility.

About Wingate University
Wingate University, ranked as the 8th "best value" in the South by
U.S. News & World Report, serves more than 2,500 students on three
campuses in Wingate, Matthews and Hendersonville, N.C. Founded in
1896, the University offers 34 undergraduate majors, 37 minors and
career concentrations, numerous pre-professional programs, graduate
degrees in business, accounting, education, physician assistant
studies and sport administration, and doctorates in pharmacy and
education. With a 14 to 1 student/teacher ratio, Wingate students gain
the tools and support needed to excel in academics and apply that
learning toward an extraordinary career and life.

In addition to a robust intramural athletics program, Wingate student
athletes compete in 19 NCAA Division II sports. The University has won
the South Atlantic Conference Echols Athletic Excellence Award for the
past five years. For more information, go to

Friday, November 4, 2011

Carolina Christmas Expands; Part of New Boulevard of Lights

Carolina Christmas is returning to Charlotte Motor Speedway and the
spectacular holiday light show will be even bigger and better in its
second year, with an expanded route of nearly five miles, more than 3
million lights and double the drive-the-track experience.

Last year's inaugural Carolina Christmas drew thousands from across
the state and beyond. This year, the region's largest holiday light
show, running nightly from Nov. 23 – Dec. 31, will offer more holiday
excitement for all visitors, says Charlotte Motor Speedway President
and General Manager Marcus Smith.

"With triple the lights, more displays and a longer route, Carolina
Christmas is guaranteed to delight each of our holiday guests," Smith
said. "We've also doubled the length of the drive-the-track experience
at the request of our fans and look forward to seeing even more
smiling faces this year."

Even before visitors enter Carolina Christmas at a new, more
convenient entrance at zMAX Dragway, they'll get into the holiday
spirit as they drive down a glittering new Boulevard of Lights from
Exit 49 at Interstate 85. The Cabarrus County Convention and Visitors
Bureau (CCCVB ) and 12 area hotels will decorate Bruton Smith
Boulevard and Concord Mills Boulevard with nearly three miles of
twinkling lights and more than 140 light pole Christmas decorations.

"Creating the Boulevard of Lights will enhance Cabarrus County's
reputation as a Christmas destination," said Donna Carpenter,
president and CEO of the CCCVB. "Anchored by holiday shopping at
Concord Mills on one end and holiday entertainment with Carolina
Christmas at Charlotte Motor Speedway on the other, we have a
tremendous opportunity to build a Christmas corridor that will boost
the area economy. Carolina Christmas and the Boulevard of Lights will
create memorable experiences for our visitors, becoming a holiday
tradition for years to come."

Carolina Christmas opens at Charlotte Motor Speedway on Wednesday
night, Nov. 23, and runs nightly from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. through New
Year's Eve, Dec. 31, excluding Christmas Day, Dec. 25. The attraction
will feature more than 600 different holiday LED light displays along
the 4.5-mile drive-through course, which includes a one-mile cruise
around the high-banks of the legendary track.

"On Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights, visitors will find even more
family entertainment with the Christmas Village in the speedway
infield," said Mike Miller of 3Dudes Productions, a partner in
Carolina Christmas.

"There will be marshmallow roasting, a festival of trees, photos with
Santa, and even a Bethlehem Village with live actors and animals.
Children of all ages will find walking just as much fun as driving at
Carolina Christmas."

Admission to Carolina Christmas is $20 per car, van or SUV, which
includes admission for up to eight people. Group rates for tour buses
and corporate sponsorship opportunities are also available. For more
information, visit or call 1-800-455-
FANS (3267).

For daily updates on Carolina Christmas or any speedway activity,
connect with Charlotte Motor Speedway by following on Twitter at
or become a Facebook fan

United Way Launches New 2-1-1 iphone app

Ever wondered who to call for help? It's a great question considering
North Carolina has more than 20,000 nonprofits providing every form of
service. Finding help is now easier than ever for iPhone users with
the launch of the new NC 2-1-1 iPhone App.

There are apps for travel, tipping, organizing your life and so much
more, but now the NC 2-1-1 app makes it simple and easy to find
community resources all across North Carolina including right here in
the five-county area served by United Way of Central Carolinas
(Mecklenburg, Cabarrus, Union/Anson, and Lake Norman/Mooresville).

"We are excited that 2-1-1 access is going to the next level in our
community by launching a cutting-edge iPhone app," said Jane McIntyre,
executive director of United Way of Central Carolinas. "Now you can
dial 2-1-1 on your phone, search on the web, or you can
connect through an iPhone app. Thanks to NC 2-1-1, help is always at
your finger-tips"

Download the new app to:
• Search a broad list of human services in your community and across NC

• Find the programs closest to you

• Create a list of resources you use often

• Text or email resources you find useful to your friends and family

• And much more

to download the new app.

Kerr Drug Launches Thanksgiving Food Drive

Every family deserves to celebrate the Thanksgiving holiday. But
during these difficult economic times, many families simply cannot
afford such a meal. That's why Kerr Drug, the pioneer in community
pharmacy, is launching a new community based effort to help North
Carolina families celebrate the national holiday. Collection bins
will be located at the front of every Kerr Drug store Customers are
asked to purchase non-perishable food items needed for a Thanksgiving
dinner and place them in the collection bins.

Where: Every Kerr Drug store is collecting food items to help families
in their community.

Who: The Kerr Cares for Kids Foundation has identified organizations
in the community around every Kerr Drug store that can distribute food
items to families in need. The Kerr Drug staff will deliver the food
to the organizations in time for the Thanksgiving holiday.

When: Collection bins will be set up through November 15th. Purchase
the food items and drop them in the collection bins found in each store.

Why: Because Kerr Drug employees are hearing how challenging it is for
families to get through these difficult times, Kerr Drug and its Kerr
Cares for Kids Foundation is trying to help. Kerr Drug and its Kerr
Cares for Kids Foundation launched a school supply collection in
August that helped 90 organizations across the state, including Boys
and Girls clubs, mission houses, women's shelters, Catholic Charities
and many churches.

General Information

KCFK is a private foundation founded in 2000. KCFK directly supports
and benefits children and adolescents who are underprivileged, who are
challenged, or who need assistance to overcome debilitating or left-
threatening health conditions. KCFK's mission is to provide a solid
base of resources to support various child and adolescent centered
charities and health alliances principally focused throughout the
Carolina's region.

As a 501(c) 3, the proceeds raised from the KCFK golf tournament has
supported such worthwhile programs and organizations such as the NC
Special Olympics, Duke Children's Hospital, Ronald McDonald Houses of
Chapel Hill and Durham and the Tammy Lynn Center for Developmental

"Since our founding 60 years ago, Kerr Drug has been a pioneer in
neighborhood pharmacy and we are thankful for the community support we
have received," says Anthony "Tony" Civello, CEO of Kerr Drug. "What
better ways to show our thanks than to help families in our
communities celebrate the Thanksgiving holiday."

About Kerr Drug

Kerr Drug is one of the most recognized and respected names in the
chain drug industry. With its roots in the Carolinas and headquarters
in Raleigh, N.C., Kerr Drug's strategic direction is founded in its
unique ability to provide patients, the medical community, and health
plans access to the most comprehensive and convenient health and
wellness offering in the industry. With a mission to be the most
comprehensive provider of pharmacy and related healthcare services,
while continuing to be the most reliable provider of health-related
and convenience items, Kerr is currently providing services that far
exceed the traditional drug store mix. For more information, please

Davidson College production of "The Little Foxes" Nov. 16-20

The Davidson Theatre Department invites the public to a production of
Lillian Hellman's The Little Foxes November 16 – 20.

Performances will be in The Barber Theatre of the Cunningham Theatre
Center on Wednesday, Nov. 16, at 7:30 p.m., Thursday, Nov. 17, at 7:30
p.m., Friday, Nov. 18, at 7:30 p.m., Saturday, Nov. 19, at 7:30 p.m.,
and Sunday, Nov. 20, at 2 p.m. General admission is $8, $5 for
faculty, staff, and seniors, and $4 for students. Tickets can be
purchased by calling 704-894-2135 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily at
<>. The play is recommended for ages 12
and up.

The play, set at the turn of the 20th century, chronicles the
ruination of an esteemed southern family whose members place more
importance on money than blood ties. The Hubbard siblings attempt to
strike a deal with a Chicago businessman to build a cotton mill, but
greed, corruption, and familial backstabbing get in the way. The
play's title is taken from a biblical verse in the Song of Solomon
that reads, "Take us the foxes, the little foxes, that spoil the
vines: for our vines have tender grapes."

Director Kia Hunter '12 will focus on the feminist issues in the play.
The play's central character is Regina Giddens, a Hubbard sibling who
must convince her ailing husband to take part in the business deal.
Regina may come off as conniving and manipulative, but Hunter aims to
highlight the male power struggles Regina is fighting against.

"It's really easy to blame Regina more than her brothers, but
considering the time period, Regina isn't left with many options,"
said Hunter. "She's forced into a loveless marriage, oppressed by both
her husband and her brothers. Modern audiences often make snap
judgments about characters, and we're definitely still susceptible to
reverting back to stereotypes."

Christine Noah '14, who plays Regina, aims to make her character more
sympathetic. "Regina is a cold character who is the antagonist of the
play, but there's more to her than that," said Noah. "She wants people
to respect her. I've worked to make her more human, and I want to
emphasize how she is forced to operate within oppressive power

Hunter says the staging will reflect the feminist focus of the play.
Wooden beams that resemble a birdcage surround the Giddens' living
room, where much of the action takes place, and thus highlight the
confinement that the female characters especially must endure.

Creative blocking enhances the caged-in effect. The male characters
move freely about the stage while the female characters are largely
restricted to the cage structure. Female costumes will include
corsets, feathers and lace, further adding to the metaphor of a caged

The play's drama comes from the family dynamics rather than intense
action, which presented a bit of a challenge for the actors. "We have
to look very closely at the language to figure out exactly what our
characters are saying and what motivates them," Noah said. "The
writing is fabulous; there are lines that will give you chills."

Hunter added, "It's a wordy play – no fight scenes – but it's
powerful, and the end of each act hits you hard." said Hunter. "The
play's focus on the family is what drew me to direct it. I love family
plays. Family dynamics speak to everyone."

In addition to Noah in the role of Regina, The Little Foxes cast
includes Davidson students Timmy Basista '15, Kelvin Bates '12, Chris
Blanchard '14, Connor Hubbard '13, Amos McCandless '14, Megan Pratt
'13, Ally Rice '12, Maddie Saidenberg '15 and Patrick Scully '12.
Kaylin Gess '12 designed the lighting.

Davidson is a highly selective independent liberal arts college for
1,900 students located 20 minutes north of Charlotte in Davidson, N.C.
Since its establishment in 1837 by Presbyterians, the college has
graduated 23 Rhodes Scholars and is consistently regarded as one of
the top liberal arts colleges in the country. Through The Davidson
Trust, the college became the first liberal arts institution in the
nation to replace loans with grants in all financial aid packages,
giving all students the opportunity to graduate debt-free. Davidson
competes in NCAA athletics at the Division I level, and a longstanding
Honor Code is central to student life at the college.

Charlotte at War - Free Presentation at The Duke Mansion

During World War I, Charlotte's national profile skyrocketed with the
opening of Camp Greene, a huge army training base on the city's west
side. Recruits came from across the United States to prepare here to
fight in the trenches of Belgium and France.

That's part of the fascinating but little-known history of Charlotte's
role in America's wars. The wars that defined America have also shaped
our city. Along with gold mining and trains, Charlotte was strongly
impacted by war through the centuries, from the Indian Wars to the war
in Afghanistan.

In honor of Veteran's Day, popular history speaker David Erdman, a
Charlotte lawyer, returns to The Duke Mansion for a fast-paced,
picture-filled presentation on this hidden part of Charlotte's
history. Join us for "Charlotte at War" on Sunday, November 6, 3 pm at
The Duke Mansion, 400 Hermitage Road in Charlotte.

The talk is free but reservations are required. To reserve your spot,
call 704-714-4445 or email .
"Charlotte at War" is part of the Explore History! Series from The
Duke Mansion ( and Levine Museum of the New South (
) .

CBCC to Warm Up Holidays for Area Pediatric Patients with Stuffed Animal Puppies

Pediatric patients in area hospitals and care facilities will be the
recipients of plush stuffed animals in the Community Blood Center of
the Carolinas (CBCC) Seventh Annual 'Puppies for Patients' program
which runs Nov. 1 through Dec. 31, 2011.

The Community Blood Center of the Carolinas is kicking off the 2011
holiday season with its annual 'Puppies for Patients' program whereby
donors who give blood in November and December will be able to sign a
tag that will then be attached to a stuffed puppy and delivered to
children in area hospitals.

"Together with our donors, supporters and community partners over the
past six years, we have reached thousands of children being treated in
area hospitals with stuffed animal puppies," said Martin Grable,
president and CEO of Community Blood Center of the Carolinas. "This
program has become a meaningful tradition among our supporters as we
team up to collect blood to save local lives while giving children
comfort and a little cheer during their hospital stay this holiday

As the primary blood supplier to 21 hospitals in the region, CBCC
relies on volunteer blood donors and local organizations to help
fulfill the need for blood for local patients. In fact, one local
children's hospital alone requires nearly 300 red blood cells and more
than 200 platelets each month. CBCC is asking anyone in generally good
health, over the age of 16 and who weighs at least 120 pounds to
donate blood this holiday season and help save the lives of local
patients, many of them children.

Businesses, churches and organizations interested in hosting a blood
drive in November and December, can call Kim Jones 704-972-4727.
Individuals interested in donating blood can do so at a community
blood drive. There are also CBCC donor centers located at: 4447 South
Boulevard in Charlotte; 363 Church Street North Suite 170 in Concord;
2524 East Franklin Blvd Suite E in Gastonia; and 600 Hospital Drive in

About Community Blood Center of the Carolinas
The Community Blood Center of the Carolinas (CBCC) is a non-profit
community-based blood center and the primary blood supplier to 21
regional hospitals, serving patients who live in 16 North Carolina and
three South Carolina counties. The mission of CBCC is to be the
steward of a community resource – life-saving blood and the vision is
to help build and strengthen the bonds of community. CBCC is strictly
a blood center, completely focused on gathering red blood cells,
platelets and plasma from volunteer donors to save local lives – every
drop of blood collected stays here to help people in the Carolinas.
The Community Blood Center of the Carolinas is a member of America's
Blood Centers, North America's largest network of community-based,
independent blood centers providing more than 50% of the nation's
blood supply. For more information, visit

Visit and bookmark CBCC's virtual press room today. Become a "fan" of
the Community Blood center of the Carolinas on Facebook
or follow us on Twitter at and on the
CBCC blog at

Social Venture Partners Charlotte Launches Signature Initiative - SEED20 Competition

Social Venture Partners Charlotte has launched SEED20, an annual
competition to discover and spotlight 20 of the most innovative ideas
for building social value in our region.

SEED stands for Social Entrepreneurs Empowered, and the competition -
for a prize pool of $30,000 ­- aligns with SVP Charlotte's mission by
helping to grow the region's social entrepreneur community. SEED20 is
made possible with investors Wells Fargo, Knight Foundation, and UNCC
as well as strategic branding and marketing partner, Topics Education.
The competition is open to any individual or nonprofit organization
with a great idea and a passionate commitment to seeing it impact
social change.

Between now and December 8, social entrepreneurs in Mecklenburg and
bordering counties can download the competition details and
application at Thereafter, SEED20's Selection
Committee will select 20 semifinalists who will receive feedback and
extensive coaching on their ideas and presentations during an
intensive seven-week period in January and February 2012. From there,
the Selection Committee will narrow the list to ten finalists, all of
whom will present their ideas at SEED20Unleashed! on March 6, 2012.

At this high-energy event, to be held at UNCC's new Center City
Campus, the ten finalists will make three-minute "pitches" to a panel
of judges and an audience of business, academic and nonprofit leaders,
foundation executives, the media and others interested in supporting
the growth of social value in our region. Finalists will compete to
win a total of $30,000 in grants, and all attendees will have the
chance to network and celebrate social entrepreneurs and the energy
and ideas they bring to our region.

About Social Venture Partners
Social Venture Partners Charlotte (SVP Charlotte) is a diverse network
of engaged individuals who are addressing community needs through a
new model of giving – Venture Philanthropy. SVP Charlotte brings the
collective expertise, creativity, time and money of our members and
their networks to develop and support promising social initiatives and
nonprofits. In addition, SVP Charlotte strives to foster a community
of socially-conscious and well-informed donors through engagement with
Investees, collaboration with other SVP partners, and participation in
educational events. To learn more, please